Barbora Zehanova

Organising Major Sport Event in the Czech Canoe Union

This case study has been written to outline possible problems, which could occur during the preparation and organising of the 2017 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, which will take place in Račice, Czech Republic, on August 23–27, provide solutions for the management of these problems, and offer possibilities for turning the event into a centre piece of the new strategic plan in terms of promotion and maximisation of economic benefit. The findings are primarily based on prior events management experience of the Czech Canoe Union (CCU) – e.g. European Canoe Sprint Championships in 2015 or the 2016 World Cup.

CSU is an experienced organizer of top-level international events, which take place in the Czech Republic every year. Therefore, the part of events’ organisation related to sport preference is usually top notch as the state-of-the-art venues offer ideal conditions for the athletes. Despite the great conditions and great sport performance, though, the Union has not been so far able to fully utilise the communications and marketing potential of these events.

The new strategic plan of the Canoe Sprint Section of the Czech Canoe Union set for years 2017–2020 aims to remedy this situation. Its goal, and the point of departure of the present case study, is to make of the important international events in the Czech Republic a platform for economic growth and promotion of canoeing.

The Czech Canoe Union has a unique chance to accomplish this goal as the World Championships take place in the Czech Republic after 59 years and the current generation of Czech canoeists is particularly strong and has a great potential to promote its sport. Furthermore, CSU is a strong national federation, in terms of its results, long history and successes in sport diplomacy. As a result, canoeing has a constant presence in traditional and social media.

On the other hand, canoeing is not considered a major sport by the general public (and sometimes also by insiders). This – together with the lack of activities for fans and a problematic transportation to the venue – could lead to a low number of spectators at the Championships and thereby to an insufficient number of tickets sold. Having assessed these problems and possible solution using a SWOT analysis, problem and goals tree, the present case study provides concrete ideas on how to tackle the main identified issues – e.g. strong internal communication with clubs, social media activities or a short video showing how easy it is to get to the venues.

Managing Marketing in the Czech Canoe Union

The Czech Canoe Union (CCU) is a traditional and very strong national sport federation in terms of its results, history and sport diplomacy. The current generation of its athletes is very strong and has a tremendous potential to be successful in the upcoming decade. The 2017 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, which will certainly attract attention to canoeing in the Czech Republic, will take place in August in Račice.

All of the mentioned above will provide a solid foundation for the implementation of the new 2017–2020 strategic plan. The present case study addresses some of the main goals of this strategy:  to increase the number of registered members (including women), and to introduce coordinated marketing strategy for the whole CCU.

The Czech Canoe Union is an umbrella organisation for many sports/disciplines including dragon boats or paddleboarding. The two main sections are Canoe Sprint and Canoe Slalom. These two sections deal with marketing and communications separately. This sometimes leads to strange situations – for example CCU has two separate awards for best paddlers – one for canoe slalom, one for the whole Union.

In terms of communications, though, some common activities and closer cooperation of these two main sections have started already in 2016, with common visual presentation. Thus, the potential for a rapid creation and implementing a coordinated marketing strategy is already there. It is assumed that a proper common communications strategy and campaign, in particular, would attract more attention to canoeing, and would bring more registered members, more female paddlers and also possibly more partners.

Even though the CCU has a strong generation of athletes, tradition and current success, it`s potential to use marketing resources and therefore also fulfilling certain points of the strategic plan is much bigger. Having assessed this problem and possible solution using a stakeholders analysis, problem and goals tree, the present case study provides concrete ideas on how to tackle the main identified issues – e.g. hiring an internal marketing manager or exploring an idea for a concrete promotional campaign that could connect many target groups.


Barbora Zehanova

Media Manager of the Sprint Canoe Section

Czech Canoe Union


Czech Canoe Union, Zátopkova 100/2, 169 00 Prague 6